Lou Gehrig once visited a dying police officer who had been shot in a burglary attempt gone bad. Lou showed so much compassion for the critically injured officer that he actually cried.
One of the family members at the hospital noticed how much Lou really cared and asked him about that. Lou Gehrig responded by saying
We’re Yankees, it’s what we do.
Sunday night I received a phone call from Detective Victor DiPierro of the 49th precent in the Bronx. I have known Detective DiPierro for many years. Usually when he calls it’s because of some tragedy in the Bronx. The last time I heard from him was because of a very bad car accident that took the lives of 6 members of a family. The only survivor was a little boy. Detective DiPierro found out that the little boy was a huge Yankees fan so he called me to see if I could get some of the players to spend some time with the boy and help him to understand that they would try to help him get through this horrible time. I remember taking five players including Francisco Cervelli and Raphael Soriano. The players really befriended the boy and brought him to the ball park on several occasions and really made him feel special. When Soriano went to the Washington Nationals he still called the boy and kept in touch.
This time Detective DiPierro asked me if I could possibly have Doc Gooden visit a very close friend of his. Manny Vargas is a police officer that as a first responder was affected by the 911 situation. He has cancer and is at Calvary Hospital. When DiPierro was telling me about all that officer Vargas was going through he broke down in tears on several occasions. He said that time was of the essence.
I called Doc Gooden immediately told him of the situation and he said meet me in the lobby of the hospital. I will be there. Dwight Gooden has had personal issues throughout the years, just like most of us. I will say this. Whenever I have needed him for life threatening situations, this man is always there. In the hospital he grabbed Mannys hand and I think what shocked the many police officers that were there was the fact that Gooden was not afraid to shed tears for this poor soul.
You have to understand that when Gooden’s father Dan was dying, George Steinbrenner walked into the hospital room grabbed Dans hand and said some very powerful words that to this day Doc has never forgotten.
When the Boss was leaving the Hospital one of Docs relatives asked Mr Steinbrenner how could they ever thank him. The Boss grabbed their shoulder and said we’re Yankees it’s what we do.
Just like the Boss, Gooden has never forgotten the spiritual responsibility of the gift that God has given him. Whether you want to call him a special person or former Major leaguer or just a good person, he understands his human responsibility. He also understands that like the Boss, everybody doesn’t always have to know that you are trying to give a helping hand. I must also add that like Lou Gehrig in the 30s or the Boss in his era , Doc understands that ‘We’re Yankees it’s What We Do !
A special thank you to Detective DiPierro, who even though he is recently retired he still is in the Bronx extending a helping hand. I must also thank all the members of the 49th precinct who always show the people of the community that they are truly always there for them.
Let’s not forget that the play BAT BOY will be at Hostos Community College on October 19th at 8pm. Several NYPD will be honored.